Updated: Jul 17, 2018
It's not often that I disagree with things. I'm Libran, so apparently by nature, I can see the pros and cons of any argument, and then sit on the fence. But sometimes, there are things I come across which urge a bit of conversation from my end. I came across an article which read "Why you should reduce your reliance on Social Media". The article highlights the fact that websites should be our focal point over social media channels. Anyhoo, at the end of this article, I'll give you my formula to a successful social media presence. In the meantime, here's what came up when I read the key points of the article.
1. When you open the article, it’s called Why You Should Reduce Your Reliance on Social Media.
Right under the author’s name are widgets to 5 social media platforms instead of her personal website (which the article suggests is a better focal point). Without intending to be a smart-aleck, I thought that this was in conflict with the messaging with the title.
2. It says (on a website) you’ve got full ownership of your future”.
Agreed. Except where would you get traffic to that website if not for social media, Multi-platform ads, Google ad words and 6-12 months of powerful SEO (and other marketing techniques of course)? No traffic, no future.
3. “Social media trends are just that—trends.”
Fidget spinners are also a trend and they make people millions of dollars.
What I mean to say is that if you are able to spot a trend, ride the wave, there’s way too much upside to focus on failing. The key to applying trend-rich technology to your business is by mastering the ability to understanding peoples’ behaviours and preferences. This will help you be adaptable and fluid. That Or get around to being a trend-setter, that way, the world revolves around you.
3. “It does nothing for your search engine rankings”.
Technically, yes, except for the fact that it does actually help your website get found. Once upon a time, when I knew nothing about SEO, I built a low-cost website off Wix (also said to have the worst SEO ever). One time, at a networking event, I was asked by an SEO guy to Google my website. We didn’t find my site in the first 8 pages. What we DID find on the third page of Google was all of my business’ social accounts which had links to my website. (I’m not saying don’t make an effort to be on Page 1 - but what I AM saying is that this point is limited in its messaging). SEO is an element, getting FOUND is the goal.
4. "You get better analytics compared to the stats you get off Google Analytics."
Probably yes. I wouldn’t know because I’ve not looked into Google analytics as much as I have my audience’s direct Instagram accounts which display their age range, gender, behaviours, preferences, lifestyle, location and even appearance.
Youtube is a bit different but then again, I have clear insight to effective content based on which videos are simply getting 37k views versus those getting 845. Still - my most important indication of hyper engagement is not numbers, rather, ACTION - where people have signed up to my email list as a result of content”.
5. "Your company will have more control over the data collected in your name."
Agreed and I believe this is a fact. Then again, this point almost implies that you shouldn’t sign up to social media at all because that’s actually what will happen if you sign up to anything - you hand over your data and consequently have less control over it. Which means you’re not just “reducing your reliance on social media”, you’d be removing any reliance on it altogether.
6. "It’s a better way to create a long-term relationship with your audience."
Hugely disagree. Website may add depth to relationship and perhaps facilitate a sales process, but is not the better way to create a long-term relationships. Imagine: would you ever be ok to receive daily emails from the same brand? Would you ever visit a website of a brand or business DAILY for a period of years for the sake of it? I would guess that the answer is no. Tools like Instagram, Instagram-Stories, Facebook stories allows you to be in front of your audience as long as you make content and they open the app (which consumers do more and more often - multiple times a day even). By providing high quality content, people and brands are currently building a long-term relationships through bite-sized content. And not just “long-term” but super high quality long-term relationships. This is not speculation, but a fact. Every Influencer and brand which was built off social media is exact proof of hyper engaged long term relationships with audiences. So many of them don't even have websites because their brands and narratives evolve so fast and so fluidly that a website would only be a time-consuming activity with limited relationship building capacity. Social Channels are the most human version of a brand and hence are much faster in gaining trust over any website. Unless you are google, or a search engine (which most social media platforms are), your audience would have limited reason to visit you daily, which debunks the idea that you are building a long-term relationship with them BEST using your website.
I’ve observed behaviour around signing up to email lists, the length of subscriptions versus the length of time a person follows a person or a brand on social media. It simply does not compare. Not even just length of time, but the quality of engagement is simply incomparable.
7. Organic reach on social channels is pitiful.
Yes. To those who have uninventive content and weak strategy (and perhaps requiring a reframe of expectations). Just because we have access to organic reach (i.e. reach for FREE), doesn’t mean every single Social Media user will all get the reach of their dreams. This point “Organic reach on social channels is pitiful” is almost directed to one exact scenario where bland content gets posted in a sea of other bland content, and then saying that it is going to struggle to reach more people. But that’s like saying the wheel is round. No social media platform (which is also a business) is not going to promote content FOR FREE if clearly does not engage the community.
8. You don’t need to be omnipresent.
This point makes me wonder about the credibility of the writer who wrote this article. WHY wouldn’t you when YOU CAN. If a 19-year old teenager can learn how to make YouTube videos about makeup from her bedroom, and then grow an audience to 1 million people, and then reach even more people by being on other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc, and then become a successful brand and business as a result, then any other business surely CAN and therefore definitely SHOULD entertain the idea of being able to be omnipresent in an actionable and sustainable way. I’m not saying “go all in, all at once, right away”, I’m suggesting not to harness complacency and close the door to the possibility of being omnipresent. For me, any brand that wants to grow, compete and succeed SHOULD be omnipresent. Your brand equity and value is hugely affected by your brand awareness, the availability of an audience, and the quality of your audience.
9. “Social media is a promotion tool—not the rock on which to build your business.”
True, but that’s like saying “I’m building my business using social media only and will never evolve my strategy”. Social media is the lowest cost, most effective marketing tool out there, which makes businesses more likely to sustain effective scaled marketing and results if they just DID focus more on social media.
Secondly, social media is not just a promotional tool. To someone with superficial experience in content and marketing, maybe yes, but to anyone who owns a successful social media presence will say that this is a brand equity building powertool (brand equity impacts the selling price of a brand like Pepsi versus Jo’s cola). It’s not like a branded promotional pen or a branded promotional calendar. It’s an influence building mechanism which has the power to house attention and nurture thoughts, opinions, beliefs and cause action. It’s not a promotional tool, it is MEDIA: A shaper of belief systems and behaviours through tech broadcast channels.
I leave my argument with this point:
By learning from Influencers and actual social media content creators, businesses would have an actual chance of seeing the true power of its availability. I’m not saying rely SOLELY on social media (even though some do, and have huge success); I can appreciate that the original article was not a “don’t focus AT ALL on social media”, however, the frame-up is a bit limited in its vision. I would offer a more holistic article.
Social media with HIGH VALUE content and innovative production
+ Effective website with email collection and/or point of sale
+ Strategic, high value email campaign
Happy audience, growing business